Ghassan Salem writes:

I've read and found very interesting Rodger Shanahan's comments in response to Anthony Bubalo's post about Obama's position regarding Syria's situation and mainly its use of chemical weapons, and the US response to that, or should I say the lack of. Allow me two remarks on this debate:

  1. We have precedents of dictators in the region using chemical weapons against their people; the late Saddam Hussein did it on a large scale against Kurds. Bashar Assad, and his late father, are not less brutal than Saddam was, and we can surely expect them to use such weapons if need be.
  2. As I said in a previous comment I sent about one of Shanahan's blogs on Syria: the more the war drags on, the uglier it will be, and the harder to stop it will become. If the US and Western allies armed the rebels a year ago to the same level that Iran and Russia are arming Bashar, we would not have this mess now. And if you think the situation is bad, wait a few months.

As for the US stance, I think the decision-makers there are taking the position of: why do we care if the Syrians continue killing each other for years to come? Avoiding massacres? There are several happening all days, and we can't prevent them all. And after all, Syrians killing each other is less problems they can pose to others in the region, mainly Israel. And many may think that it will be very good for their interests if this conflict grows into a Shia-Sunni all out war in the region. It is starting now in Iraq.

This leads to another comment, related to the Iraq war 10th anniversary: if we measure the success of this war by considering that the intent was not at all to install democracy (who really believed this?), neither the WMDs (Americans knew there were none), but to wreck havoc in the region, then it was a resounding success. In Iraq, the US had to intervene to provoke the mess, in other countries, like Syria, the dictators are taking care of it.